ALBUM: Noga Erez – ‘KIDS’

A stylish, swaggering collection of songs that explore personal growth, morality and what it means to disconnect from, or reconnect with the world around you, Tel-Aviv producer & pop renegade Noga Erez has shared her second album KIDS. Released via City Slang, Erez has worked closely alongside her collaborative & life partner Ori Rousso to create this razor sharp, intensely catchy record that proves she’s got the musical mileage she sings of.

Since the release of her acclaimed debut album Off The Radar in 2017, Erez & Rousso have been busy working on the songs that form the tracklist for KIDS. “These are songs about what we inherit from past generations, how we pass things on,” Erez explains. “KIDS talks about humanity’s potential for both beauty and destruction.” Through her witty lyrics, slick production and commanding beats, Erez blazes a unique trail through these binary opposites, acknowledging the darkness along with the light.

Opening the record with a sample of her Mother’s voice exhaling “Kids these days,” Erez hits the ground running with the triumphant sounding ‘CIPI’. Despite admitting to feeling depressed and pessimistic throughout the track, the joy of the lyric “You think you are the boss of me / when most the time, you’re my bitch” centres Erez as the ringmaster of this provocative, intuitive showcase of sound. On ‘VIEWS’, Erez & Rousso stylishly explore the absurdity of paying for exposure on social media. Collaborating with LA-based hip-hop artist Reo Cragun, her clear vocals glide over slick beats and pop hooks to create an infectiously powerful anti-fakeness anthem.

When we interviewed Erez back in 2019, she spoke of dealing with an “inner violence” and how her art helps her deal with her own internal conflicts. These sentiments resonate deeply after listening to ‘You So Done’. It’s a resilient, emotionally charged offering that delves into her memories of a toxic relationship that she started having un-nerving flashbacks about. “What a joke, what a joke you made me / What’s a Queen to a Joker, tell me?” Erez taunts over spacious beats and warped electronics. She has transformed this inner violence into a powerful lament that radiates with artistic confidence – exposing the chinks in her emotional armour with a poignant, polished flair.

On the infectiously upbeat ‘End of the Road’, Erez explores the thrill of the unknown via her commanding beats and slick rap verses, casually shrugging off the tight grip of human mortality. Following track ‘Bark Loud’ sees this “underdog” pack a serious rap punch with her effortless flow, whilst the trippy, jazz infused beats on eponymous track ‘KIDS’ featuring San Francisco MC BLIMES are intoxicating. Erez & Rousso’s spirited duet ‘Story’ explores the way our personal history can affect our behaviour towards those we love. The pair take life’s challenges on the chin together (quite literally in the accompanying video) and shine a spotlight on the grit and the joy that’s needed to maintain a close relationship.

The free-flowing ‘Knockout’ smoulders with Erez’s formidable charisma, and contrasts beautifully with the buoyant ‘NO news on TV’. “I don’t wanna look at my phone anymore” she muses in the track’s opening line, fatigued by the constant flow of bad news. But rather than encouraging listeners to switch off from the world, Erez highlights that this apathy is an unhealthy privilege, and one that many communities do not have. The fierce sounding, politically charged ‘Fire Kites’ melts into the brooding, deceptively sweet ‘Candyman’, before the record closes with the soft sounding, aptly named ‘Switch Me Off’.

A truly impressive record that spotlights her talent as a producer, vocalist, MC and performer; Noga Erez’s new album KIDS pulses with an authentic, unique energy. Erez & her partner Rousso have created an uncompromising musical force that ignites the ear drums, and transforms the personal and political into a formidable piece of art.

 

Follow Noga Erez on bandcampInstagramTwitterFacebook & Spotify

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

LISTEN: Noga Erez ft. ROUSSO – ‘Story’

A spirited exploration of the way our personal history affects our behaviour when we’re in a relationship, Noga Erez has shared her latest single ‘Story’. Lifted from her highly anticipated second album KIDS, which is set for release via City Slang on 26th March, the Tel Aviv-based musician works closely alongside her creative & life partner Ori Rousso on this slick new offering, which shows the pair taking life’s challenges on the chin together.

Erez & Rousso have been busy working on new music since the release of her debut album Off The Radar in 2017. In 2020 & 2021, they released a string of superb singles including ‘NO News On TV’, ‘You So Done’ and ‘End Of The Road’, and now the duo are set to blaze their unique trail once again on upcoming LP KIDS. “These are songs about what we inherit from past generations, how we pass things on,” Erez explains about the album. “KIDS talks about humanity’s potential for both beauty and destruction.” This outlook is epitomised on new single ‘Story’, which shines a spotlight on both the grit and the glee that comes from being in a long term relationship.

“Everyone brings their past experiences to the relationship even if things are great. Sometimes past situations come in and take over,” Erez eplains about the new track. “ROUSSO is my partner in music as well as my partner in life. This is the first time we tell a story about our relationship in a song and video. It’s a song about a couple fighting and how, in that situation, sometimes what you hear the other person say is not what they actually said. The making of this video was a 10-day couples therapy session for us. As we rehearsed the pretend fighting and martial arts moves we knew that, at times, one of us would get punched just a little too hard. It was so intense and interesting to live in this world, where our relationship comes alive in the most physical way.”

Accompanied by a stunning new set of visuals directed by long-time collaborator Indy Hait, ‘Story’ is another witty, playful offering from this unique duo who have a instinct for crafting intensely memorable alt-pop tunes.

Watch the video for ‘Story’ below.

Pre-order new album KIDS here.

Noga Erez has also announced two shows to be live streamed on 1st & 2nd April.

Follow Noga Erez on bandcampInstagramTwitterFacebook & Spotify for more updates.

Photo Credit: Shai Franco

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

ALBUM: Tamar Aphek – ‘All Bets Are Off’

Israeli artist Tamar Aphek arrives on the legendary Kill Rock Stars with an indie rock pedigree to rival some of the label’s most celebrated acts. After close to a decade playing wild guitar licks and fronting some of Tel Aviv’s most prominent rock bands, Aphek got a taste for the solo life and promptly moved to Paris to focus on her song-craft.

Stepping into her new role in style, she teamed up with fellow Israeli Yonatan Gat (ex-Monotonix) to record her first Tamar Aphek EP, Collision, released in the summer of 2014. She turned down the guitars, dipped back into the classical piano training of her youth, and started to explore the full range of her voice. Until that point she had considered herself to be more of a guitarist than a singer, though it’s hard to reconcile that fact with the confidently deadpan and sophisticated voice we encounter on All Bets Are Off. People will inevitably make comparisons with Nico but Aphek’s vocal style is less scorched and droning, though still dry enough to cut through even the knottiest of her tightly wound, jazz inflected songs.

Much of the recording for All Bets Are Off was completed some years ago with her original touring band, but Aphek has been in no hurry to release it. Instead, she has taken an intuitive yet purposeful approach to producing the album herself, re-sculpting and layering the instrumentation where necessary to best suit her stories of jealousy, injustice, anger and revenge. Take a moment to compare the Bandcamp demo of ‘Russian Winter’ (aka ‘The Second I Am Gone’, from 2013) with its stonking final form on the record to see how Aphek’s vision has paid off. Powering in on scuzzy guitars and precision drums and exiting with an out-of-nowhere farfisa final eighth, ‘Russian Winter’ sets the tone for an album that’s packed with sudden diversions and unruly intermissions.

Aphek is at her most aggressive on ‘Crossbow’, last year’s pummeling first single, boosting her villainous tale with motorik propulsion and a flashy guitar line that brings it all together. Her production skills come to the fore again on the strung-out funhouse-mirror funk of ‘Too Much Information’, turning a potential clown car of a song into a woozy mid-album set-piece of beautifully controlled chaos. Elsewhere, ‘Show Me Your Pretty Side’ is a discomfiting, sax-strewn, stalkerish track that goes heavier on the twang, recalling a more cynical Holly Golightly or early Eleni Mandell.

Aphek never wavers in her commitment to the rollercoaster approach she has adopted, though her tricks can start to wear a little thin on longer songs like ‘Beautiful Confusion’ and ‘Nothing Can Surprise Me’. For the most part, though, All Bets Are Off is a thrillingly cohesive ride that’s not afraid of ambiguities or of going to extremes. There’s a lifetime of musical experience at work here, more fully revealed with each repeated listen, confirming Tamar Aphek as one to keep a close ear on.

Listen to Tamar Aphek’s new album All Bets Are Off on bandcamp or Spotify

Follow Tamar Aphek on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook for more updates.

Alan Pedder
@_neverdoneing